If you’ve wondered whether Apple Inc purposely slows down older versions of its phones so that you’ll buy a new one, the tech giant’s recent admission that it did indeed slow down phones with aging batteries in order to “prolong the life” of the devices, might sound disingenuous.
There is no evidence to suggest that Apple engaged in the sinister business strategy referred to as planned obsolescence whereby a product is deliberately designed to have a shorter lifespan than it is capable of, in order to encourage sales of newer versions of it.
Still, the news that the Silicon Valley firm intentionally slowed down older iPhones with aging batteries to prevent them from suddenly shutting down seemed to confirm the suspicions of many customers that they were being tricked into buying more iPhones.
Responding to consumer concerns through a statement on its website on Dec. 28, Apple Inc said: “First and foremost, we have never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
Apple is facing class action lawsuits in the US, Israel and France after revelations that a software update slows down the iPhone 6, 6s, 7 and SE models as their batteries age.
According to the Washington Post, critics’ arguments are largely based on two claims – “that Apple hurt the performance of the phones in secret and that doing so made it more likely that someone would buy a new iPhone rather than fix their old one.” One lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York argues that that amounts to fraud.
In its statement the tech company said it thought slow phone performance in certain situations was due to “a normal temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.” The company now believes “continued chemical aging of the batteries” to be another factor.
Apple is offering a discount on out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement to those with an iPhone 6 or later. Starting in late January 2018, the replacement will cost USD$29 instead of the current USD$79.
The issue came to light after 17-year-old Tyler Barney, a high school student and tech aficionado in Tennessee, US, questioned why he should need to “buy a new iPhone to speed it up” on the social media website, Reddit, a USA TODAY report said.